Senescence is not inevitable.
Senescence, the physiological deterioration resulting in an increase in mortality and decline in fertility with age, is widespread in the animal kingdom and has often been regarded as an inescapable feature of all organisms. This essay briefly describes the history of the evolutionary theoretical ideas on senescence. The canonical evolutionary theories suggest that increasing mortality and decreasing fertility should be ubiquitous. However, increasing empirical data demonstrates that senescence may not be as universal a feature of life as once thought and that a diversity of demographic trajectories exists. These empirical observations support theoretical work indicating that a wide range of mortality and fertility trajectories is indeed possible, including senescence, negligible senescence and even negative senescence (improvement). Although many mysteries remain in the field of biogerontology, it is clear that senescence is not inevitable.
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